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Old 03-26-2011, 01:43 AM   #1
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BIG LOOP - SoCal - Pacific Northwest - Yellowstone - Utah

After years of dreaming about it we finally got a nice new class A and are taking the family on the road this summer. My wife and I, our three kids (6, 4 and 2) and the dog plan to leave San Diego July 1st and dont plan to be back until sometime in August. My idea was to head up the pacific coast eventually getting to Washington State and then head east to Yellowstone, then back south stopping at pretty much every national park along the way. I have already found a ton of good info hear but would love to get some suggestions on overall itineraries, routes and must see places from someone who has done this route, or something simular. A few need to know items about us.
  1. We are very accustomed to boondocking and in many cases would prefer it if it means better scenery and being closer to the good stuff.
  2. We love the water, fishing and biking. Will be bringing a quality hard bottom inflatable with small outboard, 4x4 jeep, tennis rackets, fishing gear and mountain bikes.
  3. With three kids and the dog we like family friendly spots.

Any suggestions on, map resources, guide books, advice, warnings, ideas about routes, must see places, etc are appreciated.
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:34 AM   #2
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You may enjoy US 2 from Spokane to Sandpoint, ID & Lake Pend Oreille (Ponderay). Then to Kalispell, MT. and Glacier National Park. Lake Mcdonald has large camp sites. A day trip with your toad and Going to the Sun Highway. US 93 south along Flathead Lake to Missoula, pick up I-90 east to Belgrade then 85-191-287 to the west side of the park.
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Old 03-26-2011, 11:30 AM   #3
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You're going to be on the road a lot to get all that into 7 or 8 weeks. I don't think I'd try it in less than about 4 months, but I limit our daily drive distance to about 200 miles, unless I'm headed for a specific overnight stop and not interested in the places we pass through.

If you've never been to Northern Oregon or Washington, either of those are worth three weeks. Travelling the coastal highways isn't a very high-speed endeavor. It's all fairly narrow 2-lane road in all three of the coastal states and it twists and turns as it follows the coastline. IIRC, there's a big chunk of the PCH that recently fell into the ocean somewhere in CA.

To each his own taste, and the best of luck on your trip.
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Old 03-26-2011, 03:45 PM   #4
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Hi GoBigGuy,
If you think the kids would like these items, consider:
1. Sea Lions on the wharf in San Francisco
2. Big Trees, go to the Redwood NP in Northern CA
3. See what happens when a volcano erupts, go to Mt. St Helen's

4. Go East to Idaho and see Craters of the Moon NM. One can walk in a lava tube.

After Yellowstone, consider
5. Swimming in the Great Salt Lake. One can not sink!
6. Las Vegas, the kids will love the lights at night. Hoover Dam is also a good kid stop.
7. Death valley (I know it will be summer, but I had to do it with my kids and Gkids and survived).

That is, most likely, more than you wanted. Let me know if you would like additional ideas.
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Old 03-26-2011, 03:59 PM   #5
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Oregon State Parks are some of the best. Check out the ones on the coast.
Oregon State Parks and Recreation: Visiting State Parks - Find A Park
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Old 03-26-2011, 04:09 PM   #6
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Ride the Jet Boats on the Rogue River from Grant's Pass Hellgate - Home or from Gold Beach Jerry's Rogue River Jet Boats. Gold Beach Oregon Rogue River Tours.. Our Grandsons want to go every time we go to Oregon.

You can stay right in the heart of the Redwoods at Ancient Redwoods Resort RV Park, on the Avenue of the Giants in Redcrest, CA.

Ride the ATV's on the sand dunes on the Oregon Coast, Winchester Bay is our favorite place to stay.

Visit the Tillimook Cheese Factory in Tillimook.

The Boeing Factory in Everett, WA is a great tour. The Space Needle in Seattle is a must see.

All of Idaho is beautiful.
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Old 03-26-2011, 04:21 PM   #7
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The coastal ROUTE 1 north of San Luis Opisbo is closed at BIG SUR in Monterey County. Cal Trans is working to open it before the summer season but who knows. A bridge actually fell down the cliffs Stay tuned to Cal Trans highway division web sites for road info. CHP sites will also help with info.

Route 1 is really pretty up there but it does have some sharp curves that I would not want to take a large / long MH on some of those stretches.

San Francisco is another location you might want to thinks about how to get around. IMHO I would stay on the Oakland side of the bay somewhere and then take a day trip into SF with the toad if you are towing. San Jose has some very nice campgrounds which are convienent to SF for day trips.

North of SF on RTE 101 and/or RTE 1 you should be OK all the way up to the OREGON border. Southern OR on 101 is winding and is just 2 lanes but it is do-able.

Again the coastal routes of all three states as a previous member stated above can be tricky and slow but the scenery is great. There are some really nice state parks in northern CA in the redwoods areas. My son graduated from Humboldt State Unversity up near ARCATA / EUREKA several years ago and so we have been on RTE 101 up there many times with our MH and cars. Just take it really easy and I think you and your family wiil enjoy.

Be safe and good luck on that trip.
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Old 03-26-2011, 04:44 PM   #8
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Not much time for all this but here goes:
Pismo Coast Village RV-Pismo Beach-visit San luis Obispo, Hearst castle, Morro Bay,and wineries in Paso Robles.
Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasonton- Drive toad to Bart and go to San Francisco for the day
Redwoods- can't remember the State Park name
Brookings Oregon-Harris Beach State Park
Gold Beach Or-Jet boats up the Rogue River
Ft Stevens State Park Oregon (near Wa. Border) Louis and Clarks final stop.
Go inland to I 5
Mt St Helens
Boeing Tour
Head East
State Park @ Lake pend Orielle Idaho
Kalispell MT Glacier Nat'l Park
3 Forks Mt
Yellowstone Nat'l Park
Cody Wyoming
Deadwood SD
Mt Rushmore/crazy Horse
Devils Tower
I 15 South
Salt Lake
Zion
Bryce
Las Vegas
Death Valley
Home...i
I'm tired just entering this and cannot imagine doing it in 1 trip...So consider breaking it up into segments for future travel...half the fun is getting there.
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:30 PM   #9
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Wow, thanks for all the great suggestions. I am starting to think that we might need to break this up and save some for next year. We have a couple of friends in Idaho so I think we are going to head up the 15 and save the Pacific North West for another time. More suggestions for Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming would be great.
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Old 03-27-2011, 01:45 PM   #10
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Hi GoBigGuy,
The following from my previous post remain valid for your new route.
4. Go East to Idaho and see Craters of the Moon NM. One can walk in a lava tube.
5. Swimming in the Great Salt Lake. One can not sink!
6. Las Vegas, the kids will love the lights at night. Hoover Dam is also a good kid stop.
7. Death valley (I know it will be summer, but I had to do it with my kids and Gkids and survived).

I'll add:
8. Glacier NP. This is absolutely, positively my favorite NP. I'll be going for another visit this summer. Based on the OP and what you like to do, Glacier NP is just the place for your family and you.
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Old 03-27-2011, 02:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBigGuy View Post
Wow, thanks for all the great suggestions. I am starting to think that we might need to break this up and save some for next year. We have a couple of friends in Idaho so I think we are going to head up the 15 and save the Pacific North West for another time. More suggestions for Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming would be great.
We took a 10 week trip last summer thru Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, back thru the lower half of Wyoming and Idaho. We did all of the tourist stops such as Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, Crazy Horse, etc.

If you are up for some reading, you can read my wife's blog of our trip and the places we visited. Start here, Our RV Travels: PENDLETON UNDERGROUND TOURS (Pendleton OR), and at the bottom you will find a "newer post" link. That will take you to the next post in sequence. She posted almost every day so there are 60 plus posts for the trip.
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:11 PM   #12
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I think breaking you trip in half is a good idea, we travel a similiar route each year, only it takes 6 months. Just too much to see and do.

The toys you are carrying indicate you will have lots of options and not enough time. Don't short yourself in the major Nat'l Parks, ie at least 4-5 days in Yellowstone.

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Old 03-29-2011, 01:27 PM   #13
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We have lived within 100 miles or so from Yellowstone NP, the grand Tetons and Jackson, WY since í64 and havenít seen all of them yet!
If you go to Jackson, WY be sure to see the Bar J Chuckwagon dinner show! We see them 3-4 times every summer. Be sure to make reservations and be there EARLY to pick up your tickets.
Disclaimer- We have no business or other financial interests in the Bar J, only that it is the best entertainment value for $20 that you will ever spend.
http://www.barjchuckwagon.com/
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:00 AM   #14
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Think I would break it into two trips. 1. Drive north to northern WA with a stop at St Helens, as it is along the route, do the north cross state Wa. Then to Glacier Nat'l Park for a short week and on to Yellowstone Nat'l Park for a week and then the Grand Tetons and Jackson again for 3-4 days. then on to Utah and the Nations parks there Moab area and the Great Salt lake on the way. Then anything on the way home you have time for. This leaves a drive to the coast to OR and over to Zion,
Bryce and other thing in this area.

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